If you or a loved one has experienced medical malpractice and been injured as a result, you may need the help of a lawyer specialising in personal injury law in Baltimore. But you may be wondering if you have a case – and whether or not you will be able to successfully sue for damages, hospital costs, and other such expenses.
In this article, we’ll help you understand some of the most frequently-asked questions about medical malpractice in Baltimore and Maryland. Let’s get started now.
What Can Constitute Medical Malpractice?
Unfortunately, the definition of medical malpractice is often quite difficult to understand, because of how vague it is.
In essence, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the same level of skill and care that a reasonably competent healthcare provider would have used in the same circumstances. In addition, this failure must have caused actual harm to the patient.
In most cases, it’s hard to determine what constitutes a “reasonably competent” healthcare provider, because of the complexity of medical malpractice cases. This is why, expert witnesses are often used by personal injury attorneys in these cases, to give their professional opinion about the treatment, and whether or not it constituted reasonably competent care.
How Do I Know If I Have A Medical Malpractice Case?
In order to pursue – and win – a medical malpractice case in Baltimore, the following four elements are required:
- Duty – This is the easiest element to prove. If you are being treated by a medical professional, they have a duty to provide you with a reasonable standard of care. This is usually simply proven by a document showing admittance to a hospital or clinic.
- Standard of care – Doctors are held to a standard of “reasonable care”, because a perfect outcome is often impossible in difficult or complex cases. In Baltimore, both sides of the lawsuit are usually required to hire medical experts in order to provide opinions about what constitutes a “reasonable standard of care”.
- Causation – It must be proven that the doctor’s mistake caused harm to you directly. In some cases, like a botched spine surgery that results in paralysis, this may be simple. In other cases, directly proving harm may be more difficult. There must be a preponderance of the evidence that shows a doctor’s mistake has caused you some kind of harm.
- Damages – The last element that must be proven is damages. A doctor or hospital could argue that their mistake did not cause you very much harm. For example, if a relative who was in an advanced stage of cancer died on the operating table, they may argue that, without the operation, the person would have died soon thereafter anyway.
It’s very important for a injury attorney in Baltimore to be able to prove damages like emotional distress, loss of income, and other such components of your case – or you may not get the damages to which you are entitled.
When Can I File A Medical Malpractice Case? Is There A Statute Of Limitations?
Yes, there is a statute of limitation when it comes to medical malpractice. This means that, if you do not take immediate action, the defendant may be able to get the case dismissed, because the statute of limitations has expired.
In Maryland, a claim of medical malpractice must be filed within 3 years of the date on which the injury is discovered, and no more than 5 years from the date that the injury occurred. If medical malpractice resulted in death, action must be taken in 3 years.
It’s important to consult a lawyer experienced in personal injury law in Baltimore to make sure you file your case in a timely manner, and the statute of limitations does not expire before you can begin your suit.
Know When To File A Suit – And What You Need To Prove – With This Guide
We hope this guide has been helpful as you navigate the world of personal injury law in Baltimore, and that you have all of the information you need to pursue a medical malpractice case with a personal injury attorney.